September 26, 2013WOLFEBORO — Representatives from 15 nonprofit agencies that serve Wolfeboro citizens presented their 2014 budget requests to the Board of Selectmen at the board's Sept. 18 meeting.
Selectmen listened to the presentations and asked questions. Decisions on what funding to support is made in October as the board completes its work on the 2014 town budget before passing it along to the Budget Committee.
The requests totaled $114,196, up $3,500 from the $110,696 approved for 2013.
All but three of the requests were for the same funding level as last year, which for most agencies was the same funding as the last three years. Three agencies requested higher amounts.
Caregivers of Southern Carroll County & Vicinity asked the town to increase its funding from $2,500 to $4,000 to help with a 65 percent increase in demand for its services, according to Chairman Shirley Bentley. Founded in 1987, Caregivers provides door-to-door transportation to medical appointments for patients who lack their own transportation. The organization has very little overhead and 93 percent of costs are for reimbursing volunteer drivers for their mileage costs. Through August this year Caregivers spent $7,082.70 on reimbursements for transportation provided to Wolfeboro residents. Voluntary contributions cover some of the costs but major support comes for funding requests to the towns of Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Ossipee.
Dinner Bell is also asking Wolfeboro to increase its funding from $5,000 to $6,000, due largely to increased meals and higher cost of food, according to Interim Rector Ted Rice of All Saints' Episcopal Church, which provides its kitchen and space at no charge for the weekly Thursday dinners open to all, served from September to June. IN the prior year ending in June, 24 weekly meals were served to a total of 777 people, of which Rice estimated over 90 percent were from Wolfeboro.
The third agency requesting increase funding for 2014 is Carroll County Transit, which is asking for $4,000 next year, up $1,000 from the past two years. The agency provides a Door-to-Door service to county residents to enable them to get to work, shopping, social events and appointments. Of the 12,113 trips in the fiscal year ending in June, 874 trips were provided to Wolfeboro residents. A Flex Route service was also provided last year, running from Wolfeboro to West Ossipee, with connections there to Conway and Laconia, and provided 1,811 additional trips. That service was discontinued for a time but has now been restored as a one-a-week service on Thurdays, according to Jack Rose, and the goal this year is to increase Wolfeboro ridership.
The 11 other agencies and their requests for 2014 are as follows:
- Appalachian Mountain Teen Project ($2,400): during the 2012-13 school year more than 280 Wolfeboro teens participated in this program, designed "to improve academic, social, emotional and vocational success for young people whose well-being has been compromised by difficult life circumstances."
- Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice ($22,000): provided "4,616 home health care, hospice, homemaker and young family nursing visits" in Wolfeboro in 2012-13. Bette Coffey noted that hospice visits have doubled over the past year and that her agency has had to cope with a two percent reduction in payments due to the sequester on top of a three percent decrease in homecare funding.
- Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire (CASA, $500): founded in 1989, this nonprofit organization "recruits, screens and trains volunteers to advocate for victimized children in New Hampshire courts," and last year served 49 children in Carroll County, including many Wolfeboro residents.
- Kingswood Youth Center ($5,000): since 2000 "has been offering after school and school to work programs to the students from each of the six towns that comprise the Governor Wentworth School District." Currently receives support from Ossipee and Tuftonboro, as well as Wolfeboro, but is also asking for funding from Brookfield, Effingham, and New Durham. Of total students served in 2012-13, 12 percent resided in Wolfeboro.
- L.I.F.E. Ministries Food Pantry ($11,000): since 1985 this outreach program of seven area churches provides weekly food distribution to families in need – over $200,00 worth of food annually, of which $150,000 is purchased and the rest donated. In the past fiscal year ending March 31, the average number of families served each week increased from 80 to 104. President Joe Carelli noted that Tuftonboro contributes $1,500 but Ossipee has declined to contribute the last two years, despite the fact that Ossipee residents are the second largest group after Wolfeboro residents.
- Medication Bridge ($1,082): the all-volunteer organization that helps patients who cannot afford medication get them free. During the prior fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, 82 Wolfeboro residents received 696 medications valued at $319,658. The estimated $4,300 in projected overhead costs is paid through town contributions based on proportional use. The $1,082 requested is $14 less than the prior year.
- Northern Human Services ($7,449): last year this agency provided mental health services to 252 Wolfeboro residents. Carroll County Area Director Jane MacKay said that federal and state funding for its services has been cut dramatically over the past 10 years and that the state no longer provides any funding. Town contributions make it possible for the agency to offer services on a sliding fee scale to those who are uninsured.
- Starting Point ($1,751): this agency provides services for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Carroll County. For the prior fiscal year ending June 30, 6.38 percent of victims were from Wolfeboro and these 30 victims received 434 services, including crisis intervention, court advocacy, in-personal support and referrals to social service providers, according to Executive Director Susan Indelicato.
- Tri-County Community Action Program ($5,000): provided $108,981 in heating fuel assistance in 2012-13 to 247 Wolfeboro residents as well as $20,930 in surplus food and electricity assistance. Speaking for the agency Lisa Hinckley said, "Our purpose is to assist low-income, elderly and disabled persons." The town funding provides support for the overhead costs of providing the assistance.
- Wolfeboro Area Children's Center ($20,000): Executive Director Susan Whiting noted that 2014 will be the center's 40th year serving children. While overall enrollment declined last year, the need for tuition assistance for working families did not. Of the $110,491 in tuition assistance provided , $55,838 went to 138 Wolfeboro children. Whiting noted that the center provides much more than day care to the children. She said that fewer young families with children are moving to Wolfeboro, leading to the drop in enrollment, and that most of the funding comes from fundraising events, which are held year round.
- Wolfeboro Area Meals on Wheels ($9,000): Treasurer Cheryl Dempsey said that 69 percent of clients for this meal service are Wolfeboro residents "and many qualify for a free meal." The service also extends to Brookfield and Tuftonboro. Selectman Linda Murray noted that the agency financial statement shows a deficit of $4,202 between revenue and costs projected for 2014. Dempsey said that gap has to be closed through fundraising.
- Wolfeboro Senior Center & Meals ($15,000): established in 2010, the Center serves three midday meals a week from September to June and offers other activities for seniors in the parish hall at All Saints Church. Speaking for the center Lynn Tyler said that the social contact offered is just as important as the meals. During 2012 the Center served 98 meals to 2,180 seniors, of which 90 percent were from Wolfeboro. In 2013 there has been a 57 percent increase in meals served over 2012. Thanks to a Festival of Trees grant of $17,000 in 2011 the Center has been able to absorb the increased cost so far.